best, the plants will then get an abundance of light
and air, and sun all round them. It should be set
running north and south. My object for this is, that
when a span roof is so arranged, each roof gets a due
proportion of sun. The Balsams will not occupy the
place before May> and at that time of the year a house
so situated will get many hours of both early morning
and afternoon sun, and the hot mid-day sun, which
has a destructive influence upon open flowers, is ob-
viated, although no want of good light is felt. If the
house is glazed with eighteen- or twenty-inch squares
between the rafters, an abundance of good light, equal
to everything that can be desired, will be the result.
The cost may be fairly estimated at 40?., besides
the staging ; and this estimate includes everything
else fixing, painting, brickwork, &c., as follows :
Eighty-four rafters, four and a half inches by one and a
Three hundred and fourteen feet super three-quarter-inch board-
Forty-four posts, four and a half inches by three.
Two hundred and forty feeb run of plate, four and a half inches
One hundred and forty feet run of fixed sashwork.
Two good ploughed and tongued ledge doors, hinges, locks,
Sixty feet ridge board.
One thousand three hundred bricks.
Masons' work, and mortar.
THE BALSAM HOUSE. 149
One thousand six hundred and eight feet twenty-one-ounce
sheet glass, twenty inches by twenty, and carriage two hundred
Six hundred and sixty clips for glazing, and the glazing.
Hinges and ventilating gear.
This house, if constructed by ordinary builders,
will cost, I find, more than 100L
THE HEATH HOUSE AND CONSERVATORY.
THERE is no class of plants capable of competing with
the tribe of Heaths for elegance of character, sub-
FIG. 28. SECTION OF HEATH HOUSE.
Forty feet long, twenty feet w'de, twelve feet high to ridge, five feet high at eaves.
END SECTION OF HOUSE.
References to house. aaaa, sliding sashes, worked by the cords and pulleys, BBB,
on both roofs of the hou*e ; c, the passage under the stand left to come at the
cords, to open and shut the house ; D D, the hot- water pipes ; E E, the pathway ; /,
the stage ; G G G G G, gliding sashes ; s N, position of house.
stance of flower, variety in colour, and continuation of
the flowering season, considered as a tribe. There is
THE HEATH HOUSE. 151
no month in the whole year when the Heath may not
be had in flower, nor is there a colour, or shade of
colour that it does not display. There is, moreover, no
class of plants capable of assuming such symmetrical
and elegant proportions as this, combined with the
most beautiful inflorescence, and in such abundance.
It is rather curious that the natural distribution of
some Heaths seems so different compared with others.
The greater part come from South Africa, but they
also seem to extend to the north of Europe ; whilst
but few, or none, are found in either the east or west.
The culture of the Heath is easy enough, yet we
find very few persons who grow them. The London
growers, however, are noted for the rapid propagation
and commercial uses of this family, and it is quite
astonishing how soon these market nurserymen will
produce Heaths fit for sale. A few remarks with refer-
ence to the way in which it is done may be of some use
here. About the beginning or middle of February the
young and healthy plants of sorts intended to be pro-
pagated are introduced into a house where the average
heat is 53 Fahr. but not more. The plants are placed
near the glass, a low structure being best suited for
them, and very soon they give an abundance of young
growth ; as soon as the young growth has made half an
inch, or not more than an inch of wood, take it off
with a sharp and fine-edged penknife with a slight
heel of wood at the base. Cut this base smooth, and
have pots three inches in diameter filled with fine and
Now let me remind the reader that bog-earth must
not be used, nor any black soil ; to ensure good suc-
cess in Heath growing none but pure peat is to be used.
152 THE FORCING GARDEN.
This is very scarce in some parts, but no one can success-
fully propagate Heaths with the peat of Dartmoor, nor
with that which has been dug out of boggy places ; the
peat I mean is to be had from Wimbledon Common, but
the best I ever saw or used, is found in Epping Forest
near High Beech, A few sacks of this can be had for
a few shillings. Having the pots one-third filled with
fine broken crocks, and the other part filled up with
peat, and made firm (the peat should not be perfectly
dust-dry but half dry, as this is the proper state in
which to keep it), insert the little delicate cuttings with
a very small pointed, smooth stick all over the pots at
one inch apart and three-eighths of an inch from the
side, so as to admit of a bell-glass being placed over
them which should fit close inside each. A three-inch
pot will hold about a dozen cuttings. Insert them one
half of their length into the soil ; do it very carefully,
and gently press the soil to the base of them, but great
care is needed in handling the tender cuttings or they
may be bruised, which would cause a failure.
Having filled a pot with these cuttings, give it a
gentle watering with a very fine rose water-pot, and,
after allowing the cuttings to dry off, place the glass
over them, and then plunge the pots nearly up to the
rims in a tan bed that is half spent, or over a very
mild tank, avoiding a greater bottom heat than 50, as
they will not bear much heat ; the glasses must be
taken off and wiped dry every morning and then be
replaced ; strong sunlight must be avoided. If all
things are as they should be, these cuttings will have
struck root in the course of three weeks, when the bell-
glasses may be taken off, and in the course of a week
more they may be potted off into thumbs ; but care is
THE HEATH HOUSE. 153
necessary to know that the cuttings are all well rooted
before entirely taking off the glasses, and before
attempting to pot them off. A cool pit or house is
best for them after they are well rooted and they are
Keep all Heaths moist at the root, but never give
them water while they are moist just for convenience,
that is, do not give them water if they do not require
it because you happen to be going away to-morrow, or
because you want to go home, thinking to yourself, ' If I
do not give them some water now they will be too dry
by to-morrow,' as is often the case with persons who
have the care of plants. It may do no great harm in
the case of Fuchsias, Geraniums, &c., but in Heath grow-
ing injudicious watering will prove fatal as surely as
you attempt it. But if, on the other hand, Heaths at
any stage of their growth are allowed to get thoroughly
dry at the root, there remains no remedy ; if they are
supersaturated with water equal failure will ensue.
Heaths will not stand too much fire heat, nor must
the frost be allowed to reach them ; a damp, close and
confined air will also be injurious, as it will surely bring
mildew ; sufficient moisture at the roots with frequent
overhead syringing during the summer, and an abund-
ance of air with partial shade from the sun, these are
the necessary conditions for Heath growing.
In the case of large specimens, progressive shifting
is necessary, and good drainage with frequent stopping
are essential to obtain fine and healthy plants ; but the
time of flowering of each species must be observed for
the discontinuing of the stopping. Stopping or the
nipping out of the points of the leading shoots must be
done immediately after the flowering is over, and onwards
154 THE FORCING GARDEN.
till within three months of the flowering; the soft-
wooded sorts soon form the most noble specimens by
frequent shifting and stopping.
I have no doubt about the above house being found
a good one for Heath growing at a very moderate cost.
It will be seen that I have arranged this house to be
set running north and south, which will be found better
than a full south or north aspect, as no direct mid-day
rays of the sun can come on the plants, while the cool
breezes of the west will be admitted to them by open-
ing the sashes on that side. The cost of this house
may be put at about SOL including everything.
A greenhouse may be, and frequently is, called a
conservatory, but a conservatory is not a greenhouse.
The conservatory is a structure where plants are ex-
hibited or where they are in flower ; a greenhouse is a
structure where plants are grown for flower and nursed
till they are in flower, when they are generally brought
into the show-house or conservatory. However, the
latter may be made a place for the permanent growth of
some plants where they can make progress and display
themselves to greater perfection than they could in a
Conservatories of various kinds are to be found all
over the country, and some very capacious ones are to
be met with. There was one (and no doubt it is still
there) at Cashiobury Park, the seat of the Earl of Essex,
which would allow of a coach and four being driven
through it ; and that at the Crystal Palace is a fine
specimen of what a conservatory can be made.
THE CONSERVATORY. 155
A conservatory should be roomy and airy, and so
constructed that the full blaze of a summer sun can be
prevented from playing upon the plants without arti-
ficial or temporary shading ; for shading is not good for
them except it is of a natural kind, that is, being merely
of a nature to weaken the strong rays of the sun. A
house set like the one above will answer this end in a
great measure. Canvas shading of glabs houses is
both troublesome and expensive ; some thinly clothed
creeper or climber may be better used for the roof of a
permanent conservatory such things as the Tacsonia
Van Volxemii, Kennedya Marryattse, Convolvulus
mauritanicus, Clematis indivisa, &c. These, if atten-
tion is paid to them in training, may be made very use-
ful in merely breaking off the full blaze of a hot sun.
Ornamental conservatory construction is most ex-
pensive, and is all very well in some places, and also
desirable ; but these ornamental places will not grow
the plants of themselves, nor will they make a bad
gardener a good one ; while, in the case of such a
plain construction as the one given above, if attended
to by a good gardener, its plainness will be lost in the
flowery decoration of the interior.
THE EARLY FORCING OF VEGETABLES.
FORCING THE POTATO.
IT is high time for us Englishmen to rouse ourselves
to more energy, and to try and meet the competing
foreigner. Now that glass is so cheap, and the cost of
construction considerably lessened by glazing without
putty, which any man can do, let those who have to
get their living by growing early and late market stuff
consider whether they can or cannot fairly compete .
with the Frenchman, Some men are doing this al-
ready, but why not all ? I think it is very unfair to
allow the foreigner to supply our markets when we
could, by a little perseverance, do all that is wanted.
If early Potatoes will pay them to send here, why will
it not pay us to grow them, and get them to market as
soon as they do ? Of course I know that some little
expense at the outset is necessary, but then this is but
once. I am now going to show that early Potatoes (as
early as those imported) can be as easily grown, and
pay as well, as anything else.
FOKCING THE POTATO.
Potatoes will not stand much bottom heat, but a
good surface heat is necessary to bring them on Now
I will suppose the reader has a good south wall a
brick wall, no doubt, is the best with space sufficient
to form a good border seven or eight feet wide. On
this wall I propose to erect glass, and on the wall to
FIG. 29. SECTION OF A TWO-HUNDRED-FEET POTATO FORCING HOUSE.
END SECTION OF HOUSE.
References. a a, sections of top ventilator, opened by rack gearing ; B, sections of
front flap shutter, hinged below, cc; D, hot-water pipes; E, potatoes; F, grape
plant peaches or plums, and on the border to plant the
early Ash-leaved Kidney Potato quite thickly, i.e. nine
inches every way. First fill the ground with leaf-
mould only, or dig the Potatoes in, first planting the
sets on the bottom of the trench, afterwards put six
inches of fine leaf-mould upon them all along the
trenches as you proceed. Plant whole sets, which
should be started well before they are planted. This
158 THE FORCING GARDEN.
is easy enough to do by keeping the sets in a warm
cellar or house a month or two before the planting
time comes, which should be by Christmas.
This house should be furnished with a hot- water
apparatus ; one flow-and-return pipe is all that is re-
quired, and will be found enough to force Potatoes.
Now if the glass comes down to the ground within one
foot, so much the better ; and if the wall is ten feet
high at the back, the glass may reach up to the top
with advantage. This will then be at the angle indi-
cated in the above plan. This pitch of the angle will
give a twelve-feet rafter, which will be a moderate
length for Grape vines, and these would be even
better than Peaches on the wall, because I know that
it is not good to disturb the border much on which
Peaches are growing ; and the manuring and cultiva-
tion and top-cropping of the border will not at all
injure the vines, but, on the contrary, do them good.
As a permanent crop the vines will pay well, for as
some fire heat must be kept on for the Potatoes, they
will get forward some weeks before vineries with no
fire heat. One vine will carry three rods each for
Suppose, then, the whole border eight feet wide by
any length say two hundred feet is planted with
Potatoes all over as suggested, i.e. nine inches apart,
planting them six inches deep, then no earthing up
will be required, so long as the ground is made very
fine at the time of planting, and the sets are well
covered with fine old leaf-mould. I do not mean that
which is perfectly decomposed, but leaf-mould from
leaves laid up one year, which will then be sufficiently
decayed for the purpose, and which contains nutriment
FORCING THE POTATO. 159
enough to produce the very best quality of Potatoes,
free from disease, clean and good.
Now I reckon upon two pounds of new Potatoes
to every square foot throughout the whole border, for
the leaf-mould will produce them nearly all of one
size, and rapidly too. Two pounds to every square
foot of the border would be five hundred and forty
pounds weight per rod or perch, and if the border con-
tains one thousand six hundred square feet in it (that
is, nearly six perches of ground), that will be three
thousand two hundred pounds weight of Potatoes from
the border Annually, which would be ready for market
by the beginning of May, at, say, 6d. per pound.
That is SM. exactly ; yet I am of opinion that this
is not an over-estimate, because if they are treated as I
have said, I see no reason why two pounds of saleable
new Potatoes should not be obtained from every square
foot of the border, and they would certainly realise Qd.
per pound if they were as good and fine as they could
possibly be had. But allowing a good margin for less
produce, and net proceeds of say 20L, even then we
have a good remunerative balance in favour of the
Then there is the crop that can be had from the
same border after the Potatoes are off, which may con-
sist of ridge or hardy frame Cucumbers, and these
would really require nothing more than planting and
well watering with clean water, and a weekly one with
some liquid manure. An abundance of fine Cucum-
bers would be obtained from this border through the
summer. Afterwards come the Grapes, which, at the
lowest figure, might be put at one thousand pounds, to
sell at Is. per pound. Thus I can see, and I want others
160 THE FORCING GARDEN.
to see too, that it is a speculation quite worth the
while for any man to go into with spirit, and one which
will enable our home gardeners to compete successfully
with the foreigner, and to keep the trade at home.
A fortnight previous to taking the Potatoes up,
keep them as dry as it is possible to do. This will give
them a nice flavour.
The cost of the construction of such a glass house
is not half so much as what some may suppose. I find,
by a fair calculation, that this wall structure will cost
about 107?. 8s. But if you go to the profession to
get it done, they will charge not less than 197Z., and
from that to 210L, for the same class of glass and of
the same dimensions. Here, then, is a saving of
nearly 50 per cent, at the least, and the cost of the
house is more than covered by the produce the first
season at least I calculate so by means of the Po-
tatoes and Cucumbers. Nor do I think anyone will
be disappointed, if the thing is well done.
The above estimate includes four hundred feet of
three-inch hot- water pipe ; one flow and one return
pipe, close to the front ; and a good boiler, with the
fixing ; two thousand four hundred feet of twenty-one-
ounce glass ; carriage two hundred miles, and glazing
with clips ; one hundred and fifty-five rafters, three
inches by two, twelve feet long ; two hundred feet eaves
plate ; two hundred feet wall plate, four and a half inches
by one and a half ; two hundred feet run of nine-inch
board for top ventilator ; hinges and gearing ; two
hundred feet super of one-inch boarding for front ;
forty posts, three inches by four and a half, two feet six
inches long ; two close-boarded ends ; two doors, hinges,
&c. ; and fixing and painting three coats.
FORCING PEA FRAMES.
GENERALLY in fact I may say always, and everywhere
early Peas and Potatoes are earnestly wished for, both
by the grower and the consumer. The market garden-
ers, as well as private gardeners, plume themselves on
FIG. 30. SECTION OP A SEVENTY-TWO -FEET TEA FRAME.
Six feet wide, two feet three inches deep at the back, eighteen inches deep in front.
References. a, the nine-inch ledges where the twelve-feet boards meet ; B, the runs
for the sashes.
picking the first dish of early Peas in the locality, and
of course such are much prized, because Peas at any
time are good ; but when th^y can be had a month
earlier than is usual, they are more valuable ; from
3s. 6d. to 5s. being readily given for the very earliest
peck of Peas.
The forcing of Peas consists in growing them under
glass without fire heat ; and now that glass is very
cheap, and the construction of all classes of glass
162 THE FORCING GARDEN.
houses is much cheaper than it was, it will no doubt
pay well to grow early Peas in this way. If by this
means a peck of Peas will realise 10s. instead of 5s.,
surely it is worth while to grow them under glass.
Frames made of unplaned yellow deal merely nailed
together, with sashes fitted to them, would be very in-
expensive, and will answer the purpose well. Yellow
deals can be bought for 2s. and 2s. 6c?. each ; these
deals are twelve feet long, nine inches wide, and three
inches thick. The sa wing-down twice will cost Is., not
more, each deal ; this makes three boards, making
altogether thirty-six feet run of boards, costing 3s. or
3s. 6c?. Three depths of these boards, i.e. twenty-seven
inches, will be deep enough for the back, and two boards
in front, i.e. eighteen inches. Now a frame seventy-
two feet long will take six of these deals, costing II. Is.
The front will take four, costing 14s.; the ends will
take one deal, 3s. 6c?. ; corner pieces Is. Two boards
will be wanted for broad ledges up the back and
the front, where the boards meet to join the frame ;
nineteen runs for the eighteen sashes. These will take
five battens fourteen feet long, seven inches wide, and
two inches thick, cut in two, giving the runs three and
a half inches wide for the sashes to lie on. The eigh-
teen sashes, four feet wide and seven feet long, will cost
101. ; the making of the frame, nails, and tarring the
boards will cost 10s. Thus a frame fit for early Pea
culture will come to about I3l. seventy-two feet long,
six feet wide ; taking seven-feet sashes, well made and
glazed. It is not necessary to plough and tongue the
boards, but merely nail them together on ledges and
good corner-pieces. The boards will scarcely require
planing, as they should be well tarred with coal-tar and
THE PEA FRAME. 163
lime ; you may add as much slacked fine lime as you
choose ; the more lime that is added, the thicker will
be the coating and the greater the durability of it.
The tar also gives it a grey colour, according to the
amount put in.
Now if you go to a professional builder of glass-
houses &c. and ask him to make yon such a frame, he
will charge you in all about 30. They will be made
better as far as the frame goes, but the sashes are the
same, which is the main thing. These frames are
equal to all that is required for the purpose of Pea
culture. The result of getting Peas in these frames is
encouraging ; and I have no doubt but that, if the
Little Gem is grown in them, from 41. to 51. worth of
pods may be sold in the month of May. When all the
Peas are done with in this frame, it can be used for
Cucumbers, by merely digging up the soil, and turning
in a good lot of rotten manure. The Peas do not cost
much for seed, and give but little trouble.
The Peas should be sown in December, across the
frame, the rows being one foot apart, and the drill one
inch or so apart.
The Cucumbers from this Pea frame will be a re-
munerative crop. It will take sixty Cucumber plants,
at four feet distant from each other, in patches of three
in the middle of the frame ; each of these clumps of
three will give from twenty to thirty fruit at the least,
if of a good, prolific and hardy sort, such as the Tele-
graph, Cuthill's Black Spine, or some of the long ridge
kinds ; but either of the two sorts named will do well
through the summer, and produce fruit worth 4d. each
wholesale. That would give about 101. for Cucumbers.
So that after the first season a remunerative return
164 THE FORCING GARDEN.
may be realised from this frame without much cost or
Of course the Cucumbers will require an abundance
of water daily ; and too much of this cannot be given
through the summer. Water them every day, in the
afternoon at four o'clock^ or at night, and shut up the
frames till nine o'clock the next morning, when the
sashes may be opened a little., or otherwise, according to
the weather : if a hot sun follows the morning, open
more ;; if a cloudy day, not so much. Once a week give
the whole of the bed a good watering with some liquid
manure, not guano, but such as * Groulding's special,' not
too strong, but rather a little weak than over strong.
Very early Peas may be obtained by sowing them in
fine soil, and in a sheltered spot facing the south, and
placing over them ridge glasses like those in the illus-
FIG. 31. SECTION OF TRIANGULAR PEA-GLASSES, IN FOUR-FEET LENGTHS.
References. a a a a a, four-feet lengths ; the base board, B, four and a half inche?.
These glasses are inexpensive things to make, and
are an excellent protection for Peas in rows. They
should be two feet every way, i.e. two feet at the base
across them, and two feet up each roof. They should
be made in four-feet lengths for the convenience of re-
moval and for turning them up off the Peas at times, to
admit of dressing the crop, and for admitting a day's
nice rain occasionally. Blocks must be placed under
the south side of the glasses, to allow air to get to the
Peas. The glasses may be continued over them till
the beginning of May, when they may be entirely re-
moved, and used for ridge Cucumbers, Tomatoes, &c.
The cost of these Pea-glasses will be 6s. for every
four-feet run complete, not more. Thus, sixteen feet
of glass twelve feet by twenty-four feet, at 2d. per foot,
carriage and all, 2s. 8d. ; the wood and the making,
3s. ; glazing, 4d. ; and if painted well they will last for
many years. If anyone can make them for himself
the cost will be considerably less. Every foot run of
such glass will cost from 2s. 6c?. to 3s. if made by pro-
fessional men. The exorbitant prices quoted by high
professional horticultural builders are a great drawback
to horticulture ; they keep back the trade, and admit
of the foreigner successfully competing with the home